Hoping to turn webheads into bookworms, CBS (NYSE:CBS) is using viral marketing to give its more prominent authors a little extra exposure. Bookvideos.tv will showcase brief clips of best-selling writers like Mary Higgins Clark, fleshing out their latest novels with video-assisted author perspectives or backstory nuggets.

The videos are being produced by TurnHere, the same company that hooked up with IAC's (NASDAQ:IACI) Citysearch last week to provide local venue video clips to enhance that site's destination guides.

CBS clips will run on the site, while also being distributed through leading video-sharing sites like Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube.

Book publishing isn't the first thing that most investors think about when they hear CBS, but Simon & Schuster is a pretty big deal for the media empire. March quarter results at the media giant came in generally flat, save for a 27% top-line surge in its publishing business.

There will be challenges with the new strategy -- like keeping the videos fresh and promoting their very existence -- though any gains should be incremental. Whether it is getting existing fans more excited about upcoming books or turning new readers on to the authors, the downside at this point is only the financial investment needed to launch and run the service.

A cynic would argue that the "clip culture" generation doesn't have time to read an entire novel, which is why the bookvideos.tv videos will be about two minutes apiece. So? If the alternative is to toss in the towel and ignore the growing legions of webheads, where will the next generation of bookworms come from?

It's a new chapter, and an important one.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz still enjoys reading, though not as much as his wife, who teaches British lit. He often provides freelance venue reviews to Citysearch. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.